Fair warning: This review contains spoilers. I'm not a professional reviewer, so I get to include spoilers. Do not read until you've watched the movie. And I highly recommend you watch it.
I had never seen a Rohit Shetty film before, and judging from Golmaal etc. trailers, I never wanted to. However, as soon as it was announced that SRK would do a movie with him, I knew I was doomed to watch a Rohit Shetty film after all. I was fully be prepared to endure 2 and a half hours of utter stupidity (of the likes of the dwarf scene), but seeing SRK on the big screen is such a treat that I was willing to subject myself to whatever. My relief was huge when I was actually thoroughly entertained by the movie (save for above mentioned dwarf scene. I don't get what's so funny about them. Or Johnny Lever.)
When watching the trailer, I was a bit doubtful of the DDLJ rip-off scene. But it turned out to be hilarious. As were the "sing-offs" with the various hit songs (Oh-la-la! LOL) . I loved the references to other Bollywood movies, and am proud of each one I caught (though I'm sure there's a lot I missed). I love when big stars have the grandeur to make fun of themselves and SRK was just brilliant. Also kudos to admitting to being 40 (Ehm. :D) and for the age jokes. I knew beforehand Deepika got first billing, but it came as a surprise nonetheless. Gotta love SRK for being a feminist. Also, watching Chennai Express on India's Independence Day, the non-too-subtly driven home messages of India Unite! and Don't marry your daughters off to jerks! were extremely fitting.
I watched the movie in a cinema in Austria and it was house full. Lots of audience members were Asian and there was some light clapping and whistling, which didn't disturb me at all, actually it was very nice to see that everyone was enjoying themselves. The German version of ChennaiExpress has almost 100% subtitles, be it for Tamil or Hindi dialogues, though inexplicably 2 or 3 Tamil dialogues are not subtitled and they forgot to subtitle SRK's voice over twice. (on the other hand, in some Hindi movies subtitles appear on screen when there is no dialogues. Go figure. :D ) I've always wondered how inconvenient it must be for the Hindi speaking audience members to have to endure German subs, and in getting the Tamil subs in Chennai Express that was kinda cosmic justice :).
I could have done with a bit more romance, though I loved the songs. SRK spreading his arms! SRK down on his knees! *fangirly meltdown* :D
Chennai Express even taught me two Tamil words: Illi and po :)
My final verdict on Chennai Express: A fun masala movie that didn't annoy or bore the heck out of me, with actual wit and a message and the King of Bollywood at his best!